Navjot Singh Sidhu surprised everyone when he resigned as the chief of Congress’ Punjab unit. Apparently miffed over not having a say or being consulted in several key decisions, Sidhu sent is his resignation letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
The resignation has still not been accepted an in this four days since his sudden decision, the Congess has held several rounds of hectic parleys to bring the situation under control ahead of the assembly elections in Punjab.
Among the several rounds of churning, reports have emerged that Harish Rawat could be replaced by Harish Chaudhary as in-charge of party’s affairs in Punjab. Chaudhary is currently the revenue minister in Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan and is considered as close to Rahul Gandhi.
When asked about the buzz, Chaudhary told news agency ANI, “Whatever opportunity I would be given, I’ll take it. Sidhu is with Congress, it’s party’s internal matter.”
He added, “The decision (on Sidhu’s resignation) will be taken by state in-charge and party president.”
Chaudhary has already been appointed as as an observer of the party’s affairs in Punjab by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He was part of the Congress legislature party (CLP) held last month along with another observer, Ajay Maken, where Charanjit Singh Channi was chosen as the leader.
Chaudhary was part of the meeting called by Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi in Chandigarh on Thursday to resolve issues raised by Navjot Singh Sidhu. The meeting at Punjab Bhawan, which lasted for three hours, was also attended by state cabinet minister Pargat Singh and leaders like Pawan Goyal and Kuljit Nagra.
It was decided in the meeting that a coordination committee will be formed that will be consulted on all major policy matters and decisions of the government in Punjab. People familiar with the matter have said that the panel is likely to be headed by a central leader (most likely Chaudhary) and may comprise Channi, Sidhu and a third leader.
A senior leader said that Sidhu will continue as Congress Punjab unit president.
The Punjab Congress has already sent the proposal to the party’s top leadership. An announcement regarding this is expected to be made soon after the nod from the Congress high command.
Sidhu’s resignation as state party chief intensified the crisis in the Punjab Congress. A minister and three Congress leaders, considered close to him, also stepped down from their posts.
Sidhu was made Punjab Pradesh Congress Committed (PPCC) chief by the Congress leadership in July to stem infighting in the state unit ahead of next year’s assembly polls.